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What is Actinic Keratosis?

Actinic keratosis is a very common dermatological condition that is important because it often leads to skin cancer. It usually manifests itself in patients over the age of 40, especially if you are fair-skinned and have spent a lot of time outdoors since childhood.

The rash usually appears on the face, although it can be seen in other sun-exposed areas on the body. It is very east to diagnose as it usually looks like red patches of skin and feels like sandpaper to the touch.

There are several different ways to treat this including topical medications, liquid nitrogen (cryotherapy) or chemical peels.

We always recommend that you see a dermatologist to screen for skin cancer once a year and if necessary let them determine the best way to treat this.

Is indoor tanning safe?

I’ve never really understood why indoor tanning is so popular when you live in sunny Florida, but it is. The question is: Is it safer than outdoor tanning?

There have been numerous studies associating indoor tanning with MELANOMA. Advocates, however claim that getting a “base” tan decreases their risk of cancer. Sorry to say that this is not true. In studies that were adjusted for outdoor activity, eye and hair color, freckles, moles and family history, there was no decrease in the incidence of melanomas. As a matter of fact, even indoor tanners who reported never having a sunburn in the past were 4 times more likely than controls to get melanomas!

Our recommendation:

1.       Use sunscreen

2.       Avoid indoor tanning salons

3.       See a dermatologist at least once a year for a skin cancer screen

 

 

Suncoast Sun Protection

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Summertime is upon us on the Suncoast, and while the surge of endorphins and “healthy” glow that result from basking in the sun might make us feel good, we all need to be wary of the negative effects of excessive exposure to the sun (wrinkles, age spots, skin cancer, to name a few), and be armed with the best defenses to prevent them.

• Sunscreen

Many of us use a moisturizer that contains a low level of SPF. Though this is good for everyday protection, we all need a stronger shield for those days spent at Siesta Key or Lido, or even at the golf course. For prolonged sun exposure, use a sunscreen that is at least SPF 30, and reapply periodically, especially after swimming or sweating.

Protective Accessories

While sunscreen is a great first line of defense, we inevitably miss spots, and often don’t even realize others are being exposed to UV rays (i.e. through our t-shirts). Consider investing in a few pieces of sun protective clothing that can offer up to UPF 50, always keep your wide brimmed hat on hand, and, of course, sport your sunglasses at all times.

• If You Do Get Burned…
Though we try to avoid it, we all have our moments! In the event of that dreaded sunburn, use a moisturizer containing aloe and apply a cold compress to alleviate the burning sensation. As a cautionary measure, be sure to fill up on foods and beverages containing antioxidants to help prevent free radical damage to skin cells.

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